Survey Finds Talent Shortage in United States More Than Tripled in Past Decade

Four workers at work.

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A survey released in February of 2020 found that the talent shortage in the United States has more than tripled in the past decade, with 69 percent of employers struggling to fill positions, up from just 14 percent in 2010, according to a news release from global workforce solutions provider ManpowerGroup.

“As U.S. employers face the highest skills shortages in over a decade, the relationship between employer and employee is shifting,” Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America, stated in the news release. “Skilled workers are in control and companies need to understand people’s priorities to compete.”

The survey titled “Closing the Skills Gap: What Workers Want” asked 2,000 U.S. employers and over 1,500 workers what attracted them to an organization and what makes them stay. The survey – now in its 13th year – found that what the workers wanted varied by age, gender, geography, and at different stages of career cycles:

  • Gen Zs (age 18-24) are ambitious, hungry for cash and career development, yet already, women and men have differing priorities. When looking for a job, women look for competitive pay twice as much as their next priority – flexible hours – while men say a strong brand, diversity and good health insurance are most important.
  • Millennials (25-34) want more pay, flexibility, and challenging work. They understand they have a career ultramarathon ahead of them and want to achieve a One Life balance for the long run.
  • Younger Xers (35-44) start to see balance kick in. Men prioritize flexibility as much as women. They want a flexible start and finish to their day, the ability to work remotely some, if not all of the time, and they want their share of parental leave.
  • Boomers (age 55-64 and 65+) are also driven by pay, challenging work, and flexibility. The boss they work for and the people they work with matter a great deal too. Older workers want to pay it forward: those over 65 are also motivated by purpose.

The survey found that – to attract the best talent across all industries – flexibility over when and where work gets done, mental and physical well-being to balance work and life, and challenging work to build skills are increasingly important to workers. Competitive pay and healthcare were non-negotiable.

As organizations across all sectors transform, the top ten hardest to fill roles in the U.S. are changing fast with five new entries in 2020 – Information Technology (IT), engineering, accounting and finance, construction, and customer support professionals. IT skills are now the second hardest skills to find.

“Now is the time for employers to differentiate themselves and think differently about what they offer, starting with the opportunity to blend work and home and creating clear career pathways to in-demand jobs,” added Frankiewicz. The annual talent shortage survey is available at https://web.manpowergroup.us/talent-shortage.

The ongoing “war for talent” – defined as “an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees” – will force employers to examine their entire hiring program, including their background screening process, to ensure there are no impediments to finding skilled workers.

Every company fighting the war for talent needs to effectively recruit job candidates that best fit the needs of their company. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) automates the recruitment and hiring process and provides hiring managers with the tools they need to manage and monitor the hiring process.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm with years of experience working with ATS providers – offers a complimentary white paper titled “How to Choose an ATS to Work with Your Background Screening Firm” that reviews factors employers should consider when choosing an ATS.

ESR is integrated with the most popular ATS solutions, accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), undergoes annual SOC 2® data security audits, and was named one of the top background screening service providers in 2019 by HRO Today Magazine. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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